By Wyatt Goolsby
RANKIN/MCCAMEY - Think regional. That's the message from the Rankin newspaper. The editor is making a move to cover more than just one town. Soon, The Rankin News will be renamed, and sent to several small cities that have been without a paper for nearly a year.
"It's getting harder and harder everyday," Hal Hutchens, the editor for The Rankin News, explained. "The newspaper industry is suffering, the economy is bad. Times are tough and it's tough on newspapers."
Hutchens said it's no secret printing the local paper is not about making money. He said it's a service to the community. Soon that community, The Pecos River Dispatch, will soon include Midkiff, Sheffield, and two towns that have been without a paper in a year: McCamey and Iraan.
Some McCamey residents and some city council members have been pushing for a paper focused on their town. Now, if you look in The Crane News, you'll see a McCamey section on the back. Some say it's just not enough.
McCamey Mayor Sherry Phillips said she and others approached Hutchens to try and get a McCamey paper. She said the move to a make a regional paper is a good idea in the long run.
"Of course, Rankin is in Upton County, it's our county seat, and a lot of times we don't know what's going on in Rankin," Phillips explained. "And they don't know what's happening in McCamey that they might be interested in. So that will alleviate that completely."
Hutchens said for him, his job is more than just printing a paper. He said the written history of a town is important. That's why he says his good news paper is something he thinks will catch on.
On Monday, the McCamey City Council will vote on whether or not to provide a loan to Hutchens to assist him in creating an office in McCamey. Either way, Hutchens said he hopes to start sending out the new regional paper in March.